14 November 2006

divine doubt

She pulled the scrap of paper from her pocket again and looked at the scrawled words doubtfully.

"Are you sure this is the right place? I asked.

Somehow, it didn't have quite the vibe I expected. Before we could second guess the directions, the front door swung open and we were greeted by a petite, dark-haired, green-eyed lady who stared back at us with wide eyes.

"Yeah, yeah, this is it, this is me. Come on in, girls."

We looked at eachother apprehensively and stepped in. Once inside, things started to make a little more sense. The air was thick with a sweet, spicy aroma that was both herbal and feminine. Every available surface was covered in a sculpture of some kind of mystical creature. The effect was classy and intriguing, rather than kitschy. She gave us blueberry tea and told us to drink it slowly while trying to relax. Was I being drugged? Before I could ask what was next, she disappeared behind a japanese room divider. 5 minutes later, I would experience my first psychic reading.

That was just about 5 years ago now. Green-eyed L. read our tea leaves and tarot cards, and mapped out a series of dreams and nightmares for us. In a matter-of-fact tone, she told us things we found surprising, obvious, or impossible. We went in together, so I guess you could say we are privvy to eachother's fortunes. You might think this would have become a bonding point for us, but the truth is we barely speak of it. Perhaps the way L.'s predictions unfolded over the following couple of years, and had a creepy way of turning out, was too close to the book for us. Too much.

Does this make me a "believer"? Not necessarily. But throughout my life I have always seemed to attract people with all kinds of lessons and messages for me. These encounters have left impressions, and I'm too impressionable to doubt the mysteries of this life. I'm not a fatalist, but I do tend to follow the road as it unrolls before me. If I didn't do this, my life would have been very different. Maybe it's more about faith than fate?

I'm always equally curious about those who gravitate towards the paranormal or "new age", and about those who abhor it. Where does the trust and fascination, or skepticism and dismissal come from? Who are the people who look to these kinds of sources for answers or insight? What makes some want to know, and others afraid to? When are the moments that we do decide to look for guidance; when we're most despairing, or most confident? Is it the vanity of youth, or the uncertainty of mid-life that brings us to ask questions?

Are we always wondering if we have yet become the people we are meant to be?

On some days, crystal balls seem like they could be practical, household devices. Other days I won't even glance at a horoscope in case tells me something I don't want to know about the day. Is visiting a psychic like a life spoiler? Is it only for the weak, the weird, and the lonely? Or could it be for anyone? Is there such thing as practical magic?

The centre for all things "magical" in Montreal just happens to be located within a block from our apartment. Maybe I'll stop in next week to look for some answers for these questions.

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